The following is a transcription of one of Srila Narayana Maharaja's walks in Badger, California. There are many devotees who went with Srila Narayana Maharaja on his walk, and each had his own questions. Therefore, the transcription dances from one topic to another.]
[Lila suka dasa)] I also want to marry.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Oh, you want to re-marry? Don't. Don't. Don't do it. Now you are old, and your wife is okay. Don't do so. No one should do so. I have been telling you all so many things about this in my classes. I gave the analogy of the moth flying into the fire.
[Devotees:] The moth gets burned.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] And you are doing that. You should realize the purpose of this human body. We can only attain Krsna consciousness in this human birth. Try to realize all these truths and be detached. Perform your duties, but don’t be attached to anything in this world.
[Madhava Maharaja:] He is still legally married to his wife.
[Devotee: Lila suka dasa)] I'm not married to her.
[Madhava Maharaja:] Not married?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] You are not married with her? She has been helping you for so long.
[Lila suka dasa)] She is helping me. She is my god sister and she is your daughter, but we are not married.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Oh, if you want to marry, marry her.
[Devotee Lila suka prabhu):] No, I don't want to marry her.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Then don’t marry anyone.
[Dau-dayala dasa:] Srila Gurudeva, I have a question. You were talking about Pingala (the prostitute). There is one sloka, I think sloka 35 or 40, where Pingala was speaking. She repented and said she had chosen Narayana as her only lover, following in the footsteps of Laxmi." What does this mean? What can we learn from this?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Renunciation truly came to her, and then she realized, "Oh Krsna is here, and He is very near to me. He is so qualified, powerful, merciful, and yet I am giving Him up and am serving other persons? I will not do that anymore. Now I will serve Krsna."
[Dau-dayala dasa:] Did she see Krsna directly, or in the heart?
[Madhava Maharaja:] She will have to come under guidance.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] It may be after speaking in this way she will get a qualified Guru and thus advance in Krsna-consciousness. If renunciation actually comes, one does not need to ask his Gurudeva, his friend, his wife, his daughter or anyone what he should do. He at once gives up entangling situations and goes to do bhajana. He will not ask, "Oh, what should I do?" No. He will totally give up all entanglements and do bhajana.
[Vrndavana dasa:] If one has chanted nama-abhasa in this lifetime, what will be his destination at the end of this lifetime? All sins will be removed by chanting nama-abhasa (a semblance of the pure holy name), but he is not eligible to go to Krsna because he hasn't chanted suddha-nama (the pure holy name). So what is his destination?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Sri Krsna will give him a chance. Yogamaya will give him a chance – he will take birth again.
[Vrndavana dasa:] But how will he take birth if there is no sin?
[Madhava Maharaja:] Birth does not depend on sin.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] His birth will come under the control of Sri Krsna Himself. What Krsna thinks is better to do, He does. Also, if someone is without karma, Krsna gives him a birth to increase his devotion.
[Raghunanda dasa:] Suppose someone is a senior devotee in your sanga and is following all the rules and regulations very nicely. Then, when it is time for the World-cup soccer football game, he is always thinking, "What is the score? How is my country doing?" Is that a bad thing?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] They are still grhastha. They think, "Oh, this is my country, and that country is theirs. If my country wins, then I am winning." This is false ego. When this false ego goes, no thinking of football or cricket or anything like that will remain. Only Krsna will remain.
[Raghunandana dasa:] If we think like that, will this cause us to take birth in that country again?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] When you die, why not remember Krsna? Why football?
[Raghunandana dasa:] Because they grew up thinking like this.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] You will have to give up thinking, “This country is mine, this country is theirs.” Only think, “Krsna is everything, Krsna is mine only.”
[Raghunandana dasa:] But one can’t artificially do that, can he? Even though one is chanting and trying to remember Krsna, when he hears something about his city or country he thinks, "Oh my city or my country."
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Don't think like that. We should not think like that. Try to gradually give this up. This comes, but we should remember tattva (the established philosophical truths) and accept it. You are lucky to hear all these truths in class.
[Jayanta Krsna dasa:] Srila Gurudeva, is there a secret to increasing one's sincerity and determination. Is there a secret for that?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Hearing harikatha and associating with superior Vaisnavas – sadhu-sanga.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] (to Nanda-gopala dasa) Is your horse still living?
[Nanda-gopala dasa:] Last night he was still living, Gurudeva.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] You should give him the fruit of one of your Ekadasis. Give it to the horse. Have you followed Ekadasi?
[Nanda-gopala dasa:] Yes, Gurudeva.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Say in his ear: "I am giving you the fruit of one of my Ekadasis, so you should give up this body peacefully."
[Raghunatha Bhatta dasa:] We understand that there are nitya-siddha, krpa-siddha and sadhana-siddha devotees. Regarding those tatastha-jivas in the tatastha area who make the correct use of their independence and go to Vaikuntha – what category are they in when they go to Vaikuntha? What kind of siddha are they?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] No category – they are only parikara (Krsna’s associates). They are associates. Even if they have become siddha by performance of sadhana-bhakti, no one there can say, "You are sadhana-siddha." All are parikara there.
[Raghunatha Bhatta dasa:] Can the tatastha-jivas go to Goloka from the tatastha region? Or only to Vaikuntha?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] They will move according to what they have inside as their transcendental form. Not all can go to Goloka Vrndavana. Some may go to Vaikuntha, some may go to Dvaraka, some to Ramacandra and some to Vrndavana.
[Devotee:] Somebody said those jivas have to come here first, to get sadhu-sanga, in order to go to Goloka. Is this correct? Is my understanding correct?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Anyone who has as his stayi-bhava (permanent transcendental emotion or relationship) a relation with Krsna in Vraja, in Mathura, in Dvaraka, in Ayodya, in Vaikuntha or anywhere in the spiritual world, and they look towards the spiritual world from the tatastha region, they do not have to come to this world in order to perfect their bhajana. Only if Krsna desires that they come with Him and His pastimes to this world do they come; otherwise not.
[Srauti Maharaja:] I read somewhere that when a sadhana-siddha jiva becomes liberated, he can serve, but only from a distance. Will he remain like this or…?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] The Dandakaranya Rsis were liberated. They realized their siddha-deha and went to Goloka Vrndavana. Among them, those who were married but had no relation with their husbands – those who had a relation with nitya-siddha gopis like Lalita, Visakha and others like them – joined the rasa dance at once. Among them, some were stopped by their husbands and so they could not go. Then, in meditation, by the fire of separation, all obstacles were washed away. In the same night they joined, but later. It is not that they will serve only from distance.
[Vrndavana dasa:] When the jiva comes here from the tatastha region, is that his conscious choice or is it by chance?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Krsna has given them freedom, and that freedom is a jewel. This is the symptom of a conscious living entity. Krsna told them, "Now you can choose. You are independent to think anything and do anything."
[Vrndavana dasa:] So that example of the mustard seeds thrown on a knife blade is not really okay? *[See Endnote 1]
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Somehow those souls looked towards Maya and were attracted. And the souls who did not look towards Maya, only to Krsna, went to Krsna.
[Vrndavana dasa:] It is choice, isn't it?
[Madhava Maharaja:] Yes, not chance but choice.
[Devotee:] It’s a choice; it is the use or misuse of independence.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] You cannot understand now. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has said that by your chanting of the holy name, the transcendental mood will gradually come to you; you will realize yourself.
[Balarama dasa:] I heard that if we mistakenly didn’t observe any Ekadasi during the year, if we follow Pandava-nirjala Ekadasi, Bhima Ekadasi, very strictly, not even drinking water, that would make up for the defects during the year. Recently there was Pandava-nirjala Ekadasi, and I was told then that you said this statement is not correct. Can you confirm or deny that?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] It may be, but the Pandava Bhima used to take grains even on Ekadasi. On that Bhima Ekadasi, he didn’t take grains and he didn’t even take water. Therefore it is said that if one will fast even from water, then the fruits of all Ekadasis will come in that. It has been told in special cases, and it may also be.
[Balarama dasa:] Just for Bhima or for everyone?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] It is for everyone, but we should follow all Ekadasis properly.
[Devotee:] I have a question. Due to my understanding that I am not so knowledgeable or learned, I am treating my god-brothers as if they are senior to me. But in case I feel they are committing some offence, should I tolerate or should I bring up the matter?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] It depends on what activity he has done. It may be that he has committed an aparadha – guru-aparadha, Vaisnava-aparadha or nama-aparadha. He may have committed a very big offence. In that case we should have no association with that person, but we should not criticize him.
[Devotee:] What if it is someone with whom I already have a friendly relation, and it is something minor. Should I bring it up, or…?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] But be careful. Be careful.
[Devotee:] Gurudeva, when we are chanting nama-japa, what should our meditation be? What should we think about?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] First pray to Lord Krsna, Nama Prabhu, "Please be merciful to me, so I can give up all worldly desires." This is first. Then gradually go up to other prayers.
tan-nama-rupa-caritadi-sukirtananu-Remember this sloka.
smrtyoh kramena rasana-manasi niyojya
tisthan vraje tad-anuragi jananugami
kalam nayed akhilam ity upadesa-saram
[The essence of all advice is that one should utilize one's full time-twenty-four hours a day-in nicely chanting and remembering the Lord's divine name, transcendental form, qualities and eternal pastimes, thereby gradually engaging one's tongue and mind. In this way one should reside in Vraja and serve Krsna under the guidance of devotees. One should follow in the footsteps of the Lord's beloved devotees, who are deeply attached to His devotional service.
(Sri Upadesamrta, verse 8)]
[Devotee:] You mentioned that there are two aspects in the stage of asakti: one is the lower stage, in which one is attached to bhajana, and one is the higher stage, in which one is attached to the object of bhajana. But when one is on the platform of vaidhi-bhakti in bhajana-kriya (following rules and regulations) and anarta-nivrtti (gradually becoming free from offence), what should be ones attitude as he performs sadhana? Should it be: “Unless I do these activities of sadhana, I shall not get bhakti?” What should be ones proper attitude towards the activities? Our Prabhupada said, 'sankhya-purvaka-nama-gana-natibhih,' that one should maintain numerical strength in chanting. One takes a vow to chant a certain amount of nama, and also to attend mangala arati, gaura arati and so on. What should be the proper attitude of ones sadhana? That is my question.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] It is not compulsory that everyone will do what you are saying. It depends on the devotee’s mood – how advanced or low they are in bhakti. Some may think like this, and some cannot think like this. Srila Sukadeva Gosvami will not come to attend arati and all other such things. He will not offer prasadam to Krsna. He will do so by mind. Actually he has offered himself, so there is no need of offering anything further.
[Bhudara dasa:] Everything is already done.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] When a jiva is not offered, then he is required to perform all these devotional activities you mentioned.
[Rasasindhu dasa:] A kanistha-adhikari (neophyte devotee) does not give proper respect to any Vaisnava. Does it mean that he is committing Vaisnava-aparadha all the time?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] No.
[Rasasindhu dasa:] Why?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has said, "Aparadha laksana hina. He does not commit offences." Gradually, by associating with madhyama-adhikari Vaisnavas, he will develop.
[Madhava Maharaja:] He is simple-hearted but not offensive.
[Devotee:] What does "aparadha laksana hina" mean? What is the essence of aparadha?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] "Aparadha hina" means that he does not commit offences to Vaisnava, nama, guru or anyone else. He should not do so – otherwise he will not be a kanistha-adhikari.
[Brajanath dasa:] He will be less than kanistha.
[Sugata dasa:] We don't want to commit offences. We don't want to be offensive towards devotees, but sometimes we may see them making a mistake. Can we give them constructive suggestions – constructive criticism? And how do we do that, if that is appropriate?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Yes, for his welfare.
[Sugata dasa:] But with humility.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Yes, with humility one can help others. The disciple may also tell his Gurudeva, "Gurudeva, I am not understanding why you are doing this." He can say this in a humble way.
[Yugala-kisora dasa:] Gurudeva, in the evenings you are discussing twenty-four different types of siksa-gurus. Among them, you were discussing the python. The python sits and does nothing. I am wondering what is the practical application of these examples in our own lives? These seem to be examples for people who are already liberated souls. The python does not have to pay rent.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] This has been told for those who are not liberated, in order for them to become liberated. This is the process by which you can become liberated.
[Yugala-kisora dasa:] This should be an inspiration to us?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] There should be no attachment to enjoy food or anything else. This has been told in the scriptures.
[Devotee:] In Los Angeles you quoted the verse of Prahlada Maharaja beginning, “Tat sadhu manye 'sura-varya dehinam.” How should we, who are like bees at your lotus feet, who subsist on the nectar of the lotus dust of your lotus feet, follow this instruction?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] “Vanam” [the general meaning is "forest" or "Vrndavana forest"] here means "sadhu-sanga". One should remain in the association of sadhus. Simply staying "in Vrndavana" will not do. Whether one is in Vrndavana or anywhere, he should be in sadhu-sanga.
[Padmanabha Maharaja:] Sometimes a devotee may think, "Oh, it is more favorable for me to be in the holy Dhama in India, rather than staying in the city and having to do my sadhana in the city."
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] This is because exalted sadhus are in Vrndavana. One may automatically have that sadhu’s association there. If a person is not associating however, there is no real advancement.
[Padmanabha Maharaja:] What if he receives the order of his Guru to remain somewhere in the West. His Guru might tell him, “You should continue to do service in this temple in the city, and not go to the holy Dhama.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Gurudeva will order according to the disciple’s stage. Depending on the condition or stage of the disciple, Guru thinks of what is best for him and then instructs him.
[Bhagavata dasa:] There is ajnata-sukrti, unknown devotional service. Unknowingly one performs devotional service and gets sukrti. Is there also a similar thing for aparadha (offences) – that he may commit aparadha unknowingly, but still he gets the reaction?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Yes. He should repent for his ignorance. We can know we have committed offences because even though we are chanting, hearing harikatha and performing other regulative devotional services, Krsna-prema is not coming. We will think, "It is due to my aparadha. I have committed offences. How can I wash away the results of these offences?"
“Here is an example. If you have a sharp sword or knife and you drop some very small and round mustard seeds on it so that they fall in the middle of the sword, some will fall over to one side and some will fall to the other. The jiva has got some independence to go here or there. This is not the fault of Krsna, but rather it is their independence to look here and there. If they look towards Vaikuntha or Goloka Vrndavana, Yogamaya will at once help them and they will go there. On the other hand, those who look towards the material world will be attracted by Mahamaya. Krsna is not at fault here.”
(Srila Narayana Maharaja. Lecture: “The Final Proof: The Jiva Did Not Fall From Goloka.” Australia, 16 February 2002.)
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